Loana Lecomte continues on another level and wins the XCO World Cup in Leogang
The third round of the World Cup came to Leogang to confirm or change the perception about the form that the riders had shown weeks ago. And we can say that there was great news; Lecomte continues on a spectacular level, Jolanda Neff is again reaching her best level and Jenny Rissveds shines again.
Loana Lecomte continues dominating and wins Leogang World Cup 2021
One of the special features of the Leogang circuit is the steep climb a few metres from the start, where Pauline Ferrand Prevot was the strongest from the beginning and took the lead to stretch out the group.
Behind her, the favourites were holding their own, including Spain's Rocío del Aba García, who had already shown good signs on Friday in the XCC by finishing in the top 10.
The first lap started with Loana Lecomte in the lead with Pauline, Haley Batten and Bec McConnel, 8 seconds behind in the second group with Jenny Rissveds, Jolanda Neff and Rocío del Alba.
But from the first kilometres Lecomte looked like she was saving herself and this was confirmed midway through lap 1 when she raised the pace at will and easily opened up a gap of 13 seconds. Bec McConnell was alone in second and Batten was already 19 seconds back in third. We were only on lap 1 of 5.
In just 21 minutes Lecomte completed lap 1 and was already 36 seconds ahead. Just behind, the scene had changed and Pauline was running second with Haley Batten, while McConnell was falling behind and Jenny Rissveds was struggling to reach Lecomte's chasing group.
At the front the race seemed to be decided with 3 laps to go when Lecomte was already more than 1 minute ahead, but nevertheless the race was very lively at the back. The rest of the podium positions were very competitive.
Jenny Rissveds was leading the chasing group with Jolanda Neff on her wheel. And in the course of the third lap they were joined by Pauline Ferrand Prevot, Laura Stigger and Haley Batten.
Loana Lecomte's dominance was undeniable and at the start of the penultimate lap she was already more than a minute and a half ahead. From the group that was fighting for the rest of the podium Haley Batten had already dropped off and between Jolanda Neff, Ferrand Prevot, Laura Stigger and Jenny Rissveds there were attacks uphill and downhill without any of them coming together, sooner or later they would end up grouped again.
Although we had no images of it, Jolanda Neff suffered a crash and during the last lap she had to fight not to lose too much time from the group that was playing for the podium, while Pauline and Laura Stigger kept pushing the pace to try to definitively take off Rissveds and Neff. But the situation turned around for the umpteenth time and it was Pauline who dropped off just when Jenny Rissved was shining again.
The race reached its end with Loana Lecomte coming into the finish line with a big lead, three wins in three races. Jenny Rissveds finally came second proving that her talent has no limits and an effusive Laura Stigger closed the podium in front of her home crowd.
The other great joy came from Rocío del Alba García, who finished in ninth position and thus achieving her first Top 10 in the World Cup.
Results XCO Elite Women 2021 Leogang World Cup